One Step From Top-Shelf

July 1st, 2021

Close to elite.

In Joe’s eyes, Bucs left tackle Donovan Smith has arrived.

Smith, who was always better than many credited him to be, seemed to have turned the corner late last season and into the playoffs where he dominated. If you dominate in your team’s most important games playing the NFL’s best, then you have arrived.

A couple former NFL suits implied the only thing holding Smith back from being potentially a top-five left tackle is penalties. Recently, former Jets pro personnel director Pat Kirwan pointed out how Smith was a good player and “solid as can be,” but Kirwan is disturbed by Smith’s many penalties.

Another former Jets shot-caller went into further detail.

Former Jets and Dolphins general manager Mike Tennenbaum took to Twitter and pointed out how double-digit penalties are bad and also uncommon. In other words, it’s not a place an offensive lineman wants to be.

Last year Smith had 10 accepted penalties, tied for second-most in the NFL. His biggest weakness seems to be holding; half were holding calls. Those five calls were tied for most in the NFL along with D.J. Fluker, Damien Lewis, Quinton Nelson and Trent Williams. (That’s not awful company.)

Joe is actually stoked hoping to see Smith carry over his excellent postseason play into this season. People are sure waxing Washington defensive end Chase Young as the second coming. Oh, he’s good, no question.

But the way Smith erased Young in the Bucs-WTF playoff game, after Young shot off his mouth how much he wanted to take on Tom Brady, what does that tell you about Smith if Young is supposedly the next Jason Taylor?

22 Responses to “One Step From Top-Shelf”

  1. DoooshLaRue Says:

    Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

  2. SufferingSince76 Says:

    I have been critical of Smith because he has deserved the criticism in the past. If he plays the regular season consistently like he did in the playoffs, that criticism will no longer be valid. Again, it is all we have ever asked of the guy.

  3. Marine Buc Says:

    Smith was slightly below average with Winston at QB. Winston has a bad habit of holding on to the ball too long and his pocket presence is pretty weak.

    With Tom Brady at QB Smith has been elevated to average. He isn’t great, he isn’t horrible. He is just average.

  4. Tampabaybucfan Says:

    I believe that D Smith is a good LT…..not great….but good. Tristan Wirfs is a great RT.
    Overall, we have a very good Oline…..and we need it.

  5. Stanglassman Says:

    You maybe correct that Smith play over the years has been average. But in LT position in the NFL when there are about 3-4 great, a half dozen average and the rest bad that makes average look better good. Let’s hope the great play he’s had late and post season carries over.

  6. AlabamaBucsFan Says:

    I would love to see Wirfs and Smith switch sides. I think Wirfs has the ability to be the best at both tackle spots and Smith most likely would dominate at the RT spot.

  7. Joe Says:

    I would love to see Wirfs and Smith switch sides.

    Smith can’t play right tackle.

    As excellent as Wirfs played, no way Joe wants to fool with that position.

  8. danr Says:

    Here is my take,

    with brady in there, i would rather smith hold, than get beat.

  9. SOEbuc Says:

    Lost in the clouds when you say Smith is a top tier LT Joe. Do you watch the games and look at stats? T-1 penalties, T-7 sacks allowed. Like I said, lost. Don’t you watch this guy in the game? It’s always been the same. Terrible footwork with the edge. That’s where most of his penalties come from. It’s like a break away Kucherov and you must penalize him for the sake of saving the goal. Except that happens way more with Smith trying to protect Brady’s back side. Switch it to the inside and the guy a lot of Bucs say is the strongest, collapses like bread crumbs. Ali and Jensen are top tier OL if you wanna compare Smith to them. He would be even more lost in the clouds than you are Joe if they weren’t there to babysit.

    But he’s a Buc and coach Gil has totally turned this OL around, so ima still gonna give him a chance. It’s not even the problem that he’s an above average LT, but how extremely mad I am at Licht for throwing two $40 million contracts at him.

  10. Bucsfanman Says:

    I agree with TBBF. If he played consistently through the ENTIRE season, it would be a different story.

  11. Capt.Tim Says:

    Sir, you are right. Better a 10 yard penalty, than Brady getting hurt.
    And I would bet the house, that the Coaches have told Donovan the exact same thing! If in doubt, hold!! Keeping Brady healthy is the first priority of the O-line.
    And they did a fantastic job of it!
    And if you think a Ten yard penalty stops our offense- you werent watching last year!
    A Penalty gives Tom more opportunities to spread the wealth.
    I worry about talented guys wanting more opportunities, waaaaay more than a holding penalty!

  12. Pickgrin Says:

    Prior to this year – Smith was not living up to his greatly increased pay grade.

    Being paid like a top 5 OT and performing in about the 15-17th best LT range.

    Last year – Smith upped his play (particularly towards the end of the season and into the playoffs) to that of a top 10 LT. And since OT salaries continue to climb – Donovan now ranks as the 8th highest paid Tackle this year.

    So we’re celebrating the fact that Smith has started to play up to his high pay grade…… Sounds snarky to say – but Frankly – that really is something to feel good about.

    Top 10 LTs don’t usually grow on trees – yet Jason Licht drafted and planted that large 2nd round sapling in the Lineup from game 1 of his rookie year. Now, 6 years later, Smith has grown into a blind side Lineman that shows up every week, gets the job done and is a good teammate that Tom Brady can (mostly) trust.

    If Smith continues to improve and manages to cut his league leading penalties in half – this guy the Bucs drafted in the 2nd round could actually grow into an ‘elite’ LT over the next couple of years.


    Licht and Arians apparently……

  13. Tackleblockwin Says:

    Joe Says:
    July 1st, 2021 at 9:13 am

    Smith can’t play right tackle.

    As excellent as Wirfs played, no way Joe wants to fool with that position.

    Joe, while I agree I don’t want to mess around switching sides, it is complete nonsense that Smith can’t play RT. Smith said he can’t play RT and we all know why…$$

  14. Anonymous Says:

    A winning team doesn’t have to have pro bowl level players at every position to win games or become Champions! Like your defensive backfield for example you just need one that will knock you socks off (Whitehead), one that doesn’t miss a chance to make big plays (Winfield), one that will do a above average job against the opponents best receiver (Davis) and then you add in a guy who’s running around like chicken with his head cut off saying when can I make a play (SMB) and they all make it work for the good of the scheme!! GO BUCS FRONT DEFENSIVE 7!!!

  15. Anonymous Says:

    D Smith is not a Pro-Bowl player but during our play-off run he reached his ceiling and not a bad one to reach… long as we are not paying him top left tackle mony then I don’t see the problem….where does his pay scale land in comparison to other left tackles!!! The good thing about is we have a year or two to draft a stud or develop another!! Always continue to draft good players!!

  16. geno711 Says:

    I am with Joe and have no want to see Wirfs and Smith switch positions.
    Not every tackle can switch from side to side. Also, the way the NFL defenses line up now, there are quite a few pass rushers on both sides of the ball.

    The offensive line worked last year. Why mess with that success?

  17. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Donovan Smith showed me, and most logical Bucs fans, that he can do what needs to be done. Now he needs to do it for an entire season, same as SMB.

  18. Jack Burton Mercer Says:

    I think Wirf’s great success last year motivate Smith as well. All the pub, and superior play, from the right side had to have an impact. I have to agree with the majority here, Smith is above average but far from elite. He played very well in the playoffs, I’m just not sure if he’s motivated to play like that all the time.

  19. Buczilla Says:

    Smith is a good player, but top 5?!? If he is consistently excellent this year, I’ll jump on board. Chase Young had a massive, ungodly, 7.5 sacks this year, so Smith dominating that undeserving DROY ain’t a big deal.

  20. Joe in Michigan Says:

    Chase Young had the same amount of sacks in 2020, in his rookie year, as Cameron Jordan, Joey Bosa, and Bradley Chubb had last year. So yeah, Chase Young is good.

  21. Timbucs2 Says:

    I have high regard for Donovan and think the criticism of him is overblown. But if I remember correctly, he got a big assist from Gronk on blocking Chase Young in the Washington game.

  22. Bush's Coke Spoon Says:

    “One Step From Top-Shelf”
    One step from top shelf are call brands. Call brands are numerous and fairly priced. We’ve received call brand for top shelf money.